New Books Network

Popular public conception of war has a long and problematic history, with its origins in ancient texts like The Art of War to bestselling...

Popular public conception of war has a long and problematic history, with its origins in ancient texts like The Art of War to bestselling books like Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. Though many stories depicting the brutality of war—and its toll on soldiers and civilians alike—are written in the spirit of anti-war sentiment, these works often inadvertently frame combat as exciting and dramatic while painting individual soldiers as heroes on the battlefield. But the reality of war is much more nuanced than the typical narratives might have you believe. In truth, life in a war zone is often much more frustrating and tedious than most civilians can fathom. So what are the ethics of writing about war? What are the responsibilities of writers depicting war in their work?

Winner of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction, writer Steven Moore’s stunning debut, The Longer We Were There: A Memoir of a Part-Time Solider (University of Georgia Press, 2019), considers these questions with both a wry sense of humor and a sharp analytical eye. Moore’s narrative deftly weaves his deployment experiences in Afghanistan with commentary from great critical minds like Joan Didion, Maggie Nelson, Tim O’Brien, and Tobias Wolff in an attempt to tell the sprawling story of the war in Afghanistan from the perspective of a part-time soldier.

Today on the New Books Network, join us as we sit down with Steven Moore to learn more about The Longer We Were There.


Zoë Bossiere is a doctoral student at Ohio University, where she studies creative writing and rhetoric & composition. She is the managing editor of Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction, and the co-editor of its upcoming anthology, The Best of Brevity (Rose Metal Press, 2020). For more NBn interviews, follow her on Twitter @zoebossiere or visit her online at zoebossiere.com.